Community Information in Franklinville, NC

Asheboro Kubota dealership ribbon cutting

Asheboro Kubota, 125 Red Rock Road (U.S. 64), Franklinville, celebrated the opening of its dealership with a ribbon cutting on April 6. Attending were Asheboro Mayor David Smith, Asheboro City Council members, Asheboro/Randolph Chamber members, Randolph County Commissioners, Franklinville Mayor Perry Conner, Franklinville Commissioners Richard Goodwin, Mac Whatley and Priscilla Dunn, Asheboro Kubota General Manager Ben Millikan and Asheboro Kubota Owner Joey Millikan.

Cemetery Gates Added

Due to vandalism, illegal dumping, and damage to existing headstones, the Town of Franklinville has partnered with the Franklinville United Methodist Church, to place gates at the two entrances of the cemetery. We hope this will help eliminate these problems. Keys can be obtained through check out at the Franklinville Town Hall or by contacting the preacher at the Methodist Church, Priscilla Dunn, Bob Hicks, Craig Smith or Mayor Perry Conner. If you have any questions, please call the Town Hall at 336-824-2604.

Trick-or-Treat in the Park

This year’s Trunk-or-Treat in the Park was a hit. Over 400 children visited the park in their Halloween costumes. Thank you to everyone who had a part in the success of the event. Our Riverside Park and Main Street were filled with people thanks to your time and effort. Special thank you to the churches who participated, to Arnold, Joe and Danny for setting up the park and making it look inviting and to the town office staff for promoting the event. We are looking forward to growing this event next year.

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History of Franklinville, NC: Steam Power Machine

The Steam Power House

The Steam Power House was built in 1919 as one of the last actions of Hugh Parks as CEO of the Franklinsville Manufacturing Company.  Superintendent George Russell created a coal-fired steam turbine generating station that not only supplied electricity to both cotton mills, but to the entire village of Franklinville.  Coal was brought in on the railroad and fed into two huge boilers. This powered a Westinghouse steam turbine to generate electricity. The expense of the installation, completed in 1921, caused a reduction of stock dividends which let to the shareholder revolt in 1923 that sold the company to David and John Clark, founders of Randolph Mills, Inc.. By 1925 the local coal-fired power house was made obsolete by the availability of power transmitted to Franklinville through the Carolina Power and Light distribution system.  The costs of purchasing power was much cheaper than generating steam and electricity locally, and the power house was closed. The chimney was demolished in 1975.

Community Information for Franklinville, NC: Faith Rock

Faith Rock

Location: Franklinville, south side Deep River, looking east from the SR 2235 bridge. The concrete storage silos of the former roller mill are to the left.

Today, Faith Rock is a favorite spot for visitors and town’s people alike. It offers several levels of walking/hiking trails, which can be as easy or as challenging as you wish. Visitors can access the trails from the footbridge at the west end of Riverside Park. While walking or hiking, enjoy the wonder of nature that will surround you. A picnic area, located near the river, is perfect for a relaxing lunch with family and friends. Our regions’ distinctive four seasons, provides stunning, scenic views, from various elevations, and allows you to see up and down Deep River. From the top of Faith Rock, visitors can see for miles around. The beauty of the area gives amateur and professional photographers the opportunity to capture some amazing photos, so bring your camera along. Faith Rock is open from dawn to dusk every day of the year. The Town of Franklinville is fortunate to have this beautiful and historic spot in our community and we would love to share it with you.

Rising out of Deep River several hundred feet upstream of the site of Elisha Coffin’s grist mill and textile factory is Franklinville’s major geological landmark, a huge bluestone outcrop known as Faith Rock. It was the setting for one of Randolph County’s most legendary Revolutionary War incidents.

While taking a wagon of produce to trade for salt at the Pedee River market on May 2, 1782, local resident Andrew Hunter was captured by the notorious Tory guerrilla leader David Fanning. Facing immediate execution, Hunter made a desperate escape. In Fanning’s words, Hunter “sprung upon my riding mare, and went off with my saddle, holsters, pistols, and all my papers… We fired two guns at him; he received two balls through his body, but it did not prevent him from sitting the saddle and make his escape.” [David Fanning, The Narrative of Colonel David Fanning (Spartanburg: The Reprint Company, 1973; pp. 59-62.]

Enraged, Fanning plundered Hunter’s home, holding his pregnant wife hostage for the return of the horse, “a mare I set great store by, and gave One Hundred and Ten guineas for her.” [ibid.]  However, Fanning’s guerrilla band was forced to release Mrs. Hunter and ride out to join the British evacuation of Charleston, South Carolina.

But Fanning risked a final return to Randolph on September 5, 1782, solely in an attempt to recover his mare. The incident at Faith Rock must have occurred at this time. Hunter “was riding the Bay Doe, on the high ground south of Deep River, and not far above the …ford; but found they were heading him in that direction. He then turned his course up the river, but they were there ready to receive him. The only alternative was to surrender, which would be certain and instant death, or to make a desperate plunge down a precipice, some fifty feet high into the river. He chose the latter… It was such a daring adventure that his pursuers… stopped short, in a kind of amazement, and contented themselves with firing two or three pistols after him. As there was no level ground at the bottom of the descent, he plunged right into the river… sometimes swimming and sometimes floundering over rocks, until he found a place where he got out on the north side and made his escape.” [E.W. Caruthers, Revolutionary Incidents and Sketches of Character Chiefly in the “Old North State.” Philadelphia: Hayes and Zell, 1856; pp. 280-281.]

Fanning left the country in frustration on September 22, neither recovering his horse nor gaining revenge.

Local wisdom in Franklinville has always repeated the claim that Bay Doe’s hoof prints can still be seen, embedded in Faith Rock.  The truth of that, as well as the likelihood that any horse and rider could jump off a 60-degree slope into a river normally as shallow as Deep River, must be left to the opinion of visitors.

Several generations of Eagle Scouts have established and maintained a rough trail from the Andrew Hunter footbridge in Franklinville, up to the top of the rock.  In this 21st-century, there are said to be “geo-caches” stashed around Faith Rock which game-players may discover with their GPS locators.

Churches in Franklinville, NC: Methodist Episcopal Church

Methodist Church

On August 14, 1839, Elisha Coffin deeded a 1.64 acre tract to Phillip Horney, Alexander S. Horney, Elisha Coffin, Bethuel Coffin, and J.M.A. Drake, “Trustees for the Methodist Episcopal Church…who shall erect thereon a house or place of worship.”  As the early records are lost, this is one of the few facts known about the founding of the church.  The Coffins and the Horneys were major stockholders in the factory.  James Murray Anthony Drake (ca. 1812-?) was a lawyer and a relative through his wife Eliza Balfour of the company president, John Balfour Troy.  Troy himself was a Steward of Bethany Church near Liberty, built on the site of the former “Troy’s Camp Ground.”

At the Annual Conference in the fall of 1839 Franklinville was placed on the Randolph Circuit, which included all Methodist Churches in the county, and Rev. T.R. Brame was appointed Preacher in Charge.  His relative Moses Brame was then Presiding Elder of the Greensborough District.  The Circuit’s next Quarterly Conference was held in the Franklinville Church on March 2, 1840, the church having been rapidly completed over the winter.  The original church building was frame, approximately thirty by fifty feet in plan, with twin front doors and a gable steep enough to include a gallery facing the pulpit.  Only two pictures of the building are known, one of the south side taken from across the river, and one of the north side taken as the building was demolished in 1918.  All that is known about the interior is that, after the rush to ready the building for Quarterly Conference it was evidently left partially unfinished for years afterwards.

But at some point during the first ten years of the church, the District was reorganized and Franklinsville became the head of its own Circuit, encompassing more than twenty individual churches in eastern Randolph, western Chatham, and southern Alamance counties.  Washington Sandford Chaffin (1815-1895) was the Preacher in Charge for 1849.  The conference paid him $216.00 per quarter, with a family allowance of $70.00 per quarter.  Thomas Rice of Franklinsville was recorded as a Class Leader and Steward that year.  Rice (1803-1892) had been active in the Greensborough Quarterly Conference even before moving to Franklinsville, and is remembered as the builder/ contractor of the Franklinville covered bridge and Greensborough’s West Market Street Methodist Church.

Franklinsville Methodist Church was five years old before a cemetary became necessary.  The oldest known burial is that of William Arnold (1786-1844), just east of the brick cemetary.  That grave, however, was not included in “half an acre laid out for a burying ground” deeded from Elisha Coffin the Phillip Horney, Alexander S. Horney, Benjamin F. Coffin, John M. Coffin, John Miller, John Hendricks, Joshua Pool, Trustees of the Franklinsville Methodist Church, on November 2, 1844.  The Arnold burial is near the next oldest known, that of “Marcara” McCuiston Coffin (1778-1845), wife of Elisha Coffin.  Mrs. Coffin’s grave was specifically included in one-quarter of an acre deeded by Elisha Coffin to members of his family on July 5, 1848, and now known as the “Brick Cemetary”.